Submaximal exercise testing may be superior to the 6-min walk test in assessing pulmonary arterial hypertension disease severity

Jennifer E. Neal, Augustine S. Lee, Charles D. Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Submaximal exercise testing (SET) assesses functional exercise capacity in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients and provides additional physiologic information compared with the 6-min walk test (6MWT). The relative correlations of the 6MWT and SET using SHAPE-HF™ with other markers of PAH severity, particularly echocardiogram (ECHO)-derived mean pulmonary artery pressure (MPAP), have not been investigated. Objectives: (i) Examine the correlation between SHAPE measures with the 6-min walk distance (6MWD), and (ii) Compare SHAPE parameters and the 6MWD to clinical measures of PAH severity. Methods: Fifty-five consecutive group 1 PAH outpatients were evaluated in a single pulmonary hypertension referral center from March 2011 to June 2012. Data collected: World Health Organization (WHO) functional class (FC), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), ECHO, 6MWD and SHAPE results. Data are reported using mean±standard deviation and Spearman correlation coefficients (r). Results: Nine patients were excluded. Of the 46 remaining patients, 78% were women and the average age was 61±13 years. PAH characteristics: WHO FC III-IV 48%; idiopathic PAH 52%; BNP 198±277pg/mL; 6MWD 399±97m; ECHO right atrial pressure (RAP) 7±4, pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) 63±29 and MPAP 45±17mmHg. SET with SHAPE results: mean partial pressure of end-tidal (PET) CO2 31±6mmHg at end-exercise; ventilatory efficiency (VE/VCO2) 43±16. Significant correlations were found between the 6MWD and SHAPE variables: VE/VCO2 (r=-0.57, P<0.0001) and end-exercise PETCO2 (r=0.42, P=0.004). VE/VCO2 correlated with WHO FC, BNP, RAP, MPAP and PASP and 6MWD only with WHO FC, BNP and PASP. Conclusion: SHAPE outperformed 6MWD in comparison with other measures of PAH disease severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-409
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Cardiopulmonary exercise test
  • Echocardiography
  • Exercise test
  • Hypertension
  • Pulmonary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Genetics(clinical)


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